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Office Olympics Inspire Engagement

May 13, 2010

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Looking at employee engagement from the angle of boosting morale, look no further than an episode from “The Office.” This episode has Michael out of the office most of the day on an assignment while the remaing staff at the Scranton branch of Dunder Mifflin are fighting the bordeom blues. They are stuck in a rut and can’t seem to find it within them to be productive. What shortly follows is a series of office games dubbed “The Office Olympics.” What ensues are arbitary games like “How many jellybeans can you stuff in your mouth” to having races with boxes strapped to the racers’ feet.

As a result of the olympics, the “ugh” morale at the beginning of the episode has been uplifted considerably. Everyone in the office is in much better spirits. All the employees had bonded over games and are more engaged with each other as co-workers. 

Did this improve productivity? That is debatable. From casual observation in the episode, the employees don’t really get anything “work related” accomplished. They spend all their time away from their desks and from their work in the name of fun. However it is proven that morale HAS improved. What the episode doesn’t show us is afterwards. Was the staff of Dunder Mifflin more productive the next day? Sure they could’ve spent that time working but their brief break from the monotony of selling paper could have been the release they needed to re-charge and be ready for the next day’s work.

What do you think? Do “Office Olympic” style team bonding events help overall morale and engagement?

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One Comment leave one →
  1. thelanterngroup permalink
    May 14, 2010 3:42 am

    The drive to Bond is one of the 4-Drives discussed by Lawrence and Nohria – so this type of activity, while on the surface might seem like goofing off, can help increase motivation and engagement (in the long run).

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